Vikings Receiver in Line To Make NFL Debut Sunday

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Trishton Jackson (9) catches a pass against the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in a huge contest for both teams. L.A. and Minnesota lost their first two games and desperately need a win to turn the season around. The Vikes will be without defender Marcus Davenport but top left tackle Christian Darrisaw will be back in the lineup.

Vikings Receiver in Line To Make NFL Debut Sunday

Vikings Receiver in Line To Make NFL Debut Sunday
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Trishton Jackson (9) reacts after a reception in the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

A player that will not suit up is sophomore receiver Jalen Nailor as he was placed on IR with a hamstring injury earlier in the week. Because the franchise only employs four other WRs — Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn, Jordan Addison, Brandon Powell — they elevated Trishton Jackson from the practice squad.

Every practice squad player can be elevated three times for games per season. For Jackson, it could be a big milestone as it would be his NFL debut. The receiver started his college career at Michigan State where he caught only 17 passes over two seasons for 232 yards and 1 touchdown.

He transferred to Syracuse but had to sit out the 2018 season because of the transfer rules back then but logged 69 catches for 1,050 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning second-team All-ACC honors. Jackson entered the 2020 draft.

Aug 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Trishton Jackson (83) warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports.

In a deep receiver class in 2020, Jackson ended up as an undrafted rookie, joining the Los Angeles Rams and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. He stayed with the organization for one year and was cut on cutdown day 2021.

The Vikings signed him to the practice squad, roughly five months before O’Connell joined. In training camp and preseason in 2022, Jackson showed promise and produced some highlight plays but failed to make the roster.

Another chance in 2023, Jackson suffered a knee injury and missed part of camp and a preseason game, likely costing him the chance at a roster spot. Once again, Jackson was placed on the practice squad. The frequency in which he was featured in highlight videos during training camp quickly elevated the wideout to stardom amongst Vikings fans.

Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Trishton Jackson (9) eyes the goal line after being tackled by Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Darius Phillips (20) during a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

In his fourth season, he is in line to make his NFL debut. The Vikings have really used only their top three wideouts. Nailor logged one snap on offense and Powell is still waiting for his opportunity beyond returning punts. Jackson might need to get a little lucky to actually see some run. Playing special teams could be his best shot.

The advantage of elevating players from the practice squad is obvious. They know the scheme and the plays while simultaneously having some understanding with the quarterback. Other options were N’Keal Harry, a former first-round selection with plenty of experience in the league, rookie Thayer Thomas, and Lucky Jackson, an XFL star.

One role the Vikings have to fill besides that of a depth receiver is that of the punt gunner, a job held by rookie NaJee Thompson and Nailor. It remains to be seen if Jackson takes over that task as well.

Not making his debut for the purple team will Cam Akers, the recently acquired running back. He needs more time to become familiar with his new team.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt